Fuije Eguchi is a mega star but plays because it is great fun.
Among the 3200 players taking part in the World Veterans Championships there are quite a lot of stars but only one with mega status, The Japanese Fujie Eguchi.
She is by far the most qualified.
Nine World Champion gold medals between 1954 and 1959; one in singles, one in doubles, three in mixed doubles and four gold medals in the team event.
But the shower of medals is not always about gold. Add four silver medals and as many bronze ones. Furthermore two quarter finals and only in one out of twenty world championships has she not reached the quarterfinals and that was in Utrecht where she was among the last sixteen.
Her singles gold was won in Stockholm in 1957.
The left-handed English lady Ann Haydon was defeated in the “Kungliga hallen” after five games, 21-19 in the decisive game. To add to this singles gold Fujie Eguchi furthermore won three gold medals in Stockholm, in singles, in mixed doubles and in the team event.
Now she is back, 55 years later.
And of course the Japanese lady remembers Stockholm. And Sweden.
- So many beautiful women and so many gorgeous men in the streets.
- And Ingrid Bergman is Swedish. How beautiful she was.
After the Stockholm Championships in 1957 the whole Japanese team went by boat to Oslo, the Norwegian capital. It was such a nice voyage, it was very beautiful to follow the coast line.
Fujie Eguchi keeps a low profile when it comes to her game in the 80-year-old group in Stockholm, the first time in that age group.
But taking part in the World Veteran Championships is nothing new for her. She has done that a couple of times before.
Nowadays her taking part is more about relaxing and getting on with others, perhaps also saying hallo to some old friends.
A couple of times a week she goes to the table tennis hall in Osaka where she plays together with some youngsters, and instructs mama-san players (mothers whose children have left home and where their husbands are still at work)
In Japan the mama-san-activities are very popular.
On the ITTF web site Fujie Eguchi, in connection with the World Veteran Championships in Rio de Janeiro in 2008, expressed herself in the following way:
- I love to play table tennis, it is as easy as that. To win or lose does not matter, to play is the important thing.
And confessed at the same time:
- The ball does not come back in the same way as it did before. Now often In a strange way and often without spin.
- Fujie guchi experienced in Rio the entrance of the material players, they were not represented in the fifties.